The most important aspect of association management software selection are the vendor demos.
Here’s how to make sure you get the demos you need, even when you and your vendors are working remotely.
When you’re searching for your next association management software (AMS) solution, product demos are extremely important. That’s when you move from just talking about the software and what it does to seeing the software in action.
Since the vendor demo is such an important step in the software selection process, and because sitting through even just a few demos takes staff time, it’s important to make the most of each demo. But, not all of your staff (or the vendor’s staff) can be in the same place at the same time – especially in today’s work environment when many employees are working from home.
Here are five secrets to getting the most out of software vendor demos, even when your staff and the vendor are in different locations.
How to get the most out of your remote AMS demo
Use the meeting technology.
One advantage of remote demos is that you have the benefits that meeting technology offers. Here are a few tips:
- Ask your software vendor to record the demo and send you a link to it so you can revisit it and share it with other team members.
- Use the chat functionality in the meeting technology. It’s also a great way to jot down questions so you don’t forget them along the way. The vendor can then be sure to answer them before the demo ends, and depending on your video conferencing tool, there may be a chat history available with the recording for future reference.
- Use your webcam. Letting the vendor see your team’s faces (and your team seeing your vendor) helps you engage and connect with each other in a more personal and natural way.
Know who you’re talking to.
With most software demos, the vendor will send two people: a salesperson who understands your organization, and a sales engineer who understands the software. Knowing the roles of the people presenting the demo – especially in a web meeting – can help make the dynamics of the conversation run more smoothly.
Ask for what you want to see.
Many vendors approach the software demo as an overview, showing you all the software’s features at a high level. But the last thing you want is to run out of time without seeing and understanding the features that are most important to you.
Make sure that the vendor personalizes the demo, showing your team features and scenarios in the product that are specific to your association’s needs. And, be sure to speak up if the demo veers in the wrong direction. Don’t be afraid to say, “That’s not important to us.”
Ask to see it in action.
A software demo should show you not only what the software does, but more importantly how it will feel to work in the product. So, don’t settle for screen captures. Ask the vendor to show you how things are actually done in the product. They may say they have certain functionality, but can they show it? Ask to dig deeper into the product if there is an area you want to see in more detail.
Go to your demo with key questions you want answered. But, don’t stop there. Ask specific questions during the demo. Let the vendor know if anything is unclear. Ask them to go back if there is an area you’d like to see again or see in more detail.
Seeing your potential new AMS in action is a critically important step in the software selection process. Be sure not to let working remotely get in the way. Arm yourself with the tips in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to gaining the information you need to make a good decision for your association.